Courses & Fees

Secondary Teacher Education Program

See “School Leadership” tab for Montessori Leadership Course and fees

Program Fees

  1. Registration fee – $800.00 (To be submitted with the application.) Registration fee includes AMS and MACTE fees.
  2. Program and Materials fee – $8,000.00 (Due in full before the course cycle begins in June unless other arrangements have been made at the time that the application is submitted.) Program and Materials fee includes:
  • Tuition for all 9 CMStep courses
  • Reasonable expenses for adult learner site visits and consultation (1 visit during the practicum year, 1 extensive video consultation in winter of the practicum year, and a final visit in the fall of the school year that follows the final summer of the training program)
  • Books and materials (Books and supplies are provided by CMStep with the exception of any books assigned to be read before the summer course begins.)
  • Room and board for both Fall and Winter Intensives and the Erdkinder course

Not included:

  • Room and board for the duration of the summer training (with the exception of the Erdkinder course, for which room and board are covered by CMStep)
  • Graduate credit from Xavier University

Program Cycle

CMStep is designed to meet the needs and busy schedules of full-time teachers. The first summer is four weeks of course work and a fifth week of field study/Erdkinder in June and July. This is followed by a practicum phase with two mid-year intensive seminars. The adult learner works at a practicum site for a minimum six (6) hours a day, five (5) days a week for nine consecutive months (1080 Practicum hours required.) S/he will also conduct a research project during the practicum year. Course work (Structure & Organization) and a final field study (Pedagogy of Place) are taken in the final summer. There are two visits in the practicum year and a final visit the following fall by CMStep staff.

If necessary, the program may be spread over three summers, rather than two. However, any exception to the program cycle is at the discretion of the Program Director and must be determined prior to the commencement of the program. Practicum may not precede the first summer academic phase of the program.

Secondary I-II Courses

Prerequisites: Overview (an on-line course) and the following readings:

Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain by Dan Siegel

The Way of Mindful Education by Daniel Rechtschaffen

Teaching with Love and Logic by James Fay

Maria Montessori: A Biography by Rita Kramer

Summer 1 Courses: Introduction to Curriculum, Philosophy, Curriculum Development, and Erdkinder

Practicum Phase: Practicum and Year-long Project

Summer 2 Courses: Montessori Structure & Organization and Pedagogy of Place

Secondary I-II Course Descriptions


This course is an examination of the basic tenets of Montessori philosophy through the exploration of Dr. Montessori’s deep understanding of the early years of life. Using the seminal texts The Secret of Childhood and The Discovery of the Child, videos of working Montessori classrooms, and other resources, adult learners will learn about the goals of Montessori education, the characteristics of the child in the first six years of life, and how each component of the Montessori system contributes to the whole. We will explore deeply the role of the teacher as a guide and undertake exercises in observation. The course consists of a series of discrete modules that are to be completed independently at the adult learners’ own pace. Each module will involve a text, video and/or audio, an experiential exercise, and a reflection. Contact with the instructor will take place via e-mail.

Why this course? Montessori is a highly nuanced pedagogical theory developed over the course of fifty years. It provides an overarching theory of human development that spans from birth through adulthood. A strong background in the framework of Montessori philosophy makes for stronger teachers and programs. Understanding the early years of development and how the human brain and personality are constructed will give adult learners a deeper appreciation for how the adolescent brain and personality develop.

Introduction to Curriculum

This course encompasses the basic principles and practices throughout the scope and sequence of the elementary curriculum within Montessori classrooms for ages 6-12. These principles will include an introduction to the concepts of sensitive periods and developmental stages, as well as the three modes of learning, the three period lesson, concrete to abstract, isolation of difficulty, point of interest, classification, and nomenclature cards used for early research. Presentations in each content area of Mathematics, Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies will demonstrate how the spiraling curriculum builds upon itself, sequencing into greater detail and focus. Adult learners will have opportunities for hands-on practice with Montessori didactic materials with a special focus on those that are appropriate for the secondary classroom, and be expected to complete individual, paired, or group exercises in math and geometry, grammar, science classification, and timelines for history as well as Montessori’s Great Lessons. Cooperative group presentations will culminate the course.

Why this course? Because adolescents still need to occasionally see or work with materials to be reminded of their previous learning. Not only that, there are ways in which the materials can be used in very sophisticated ways to illustrate complicated concepts that are applicable to high school students!

Montessori Philosophy (and Adolescent Development)

Adult learners in this course will read Montessori’s life, and discuss current trends and issues in Montessori education, adolescent development, and philosophy specifically as they apply to the education of the adolescent. An overview of adolescent development will emphasize developmental characteristics in the physical, psychological, social and moral/spiritual realms. Adult learners will explore the writings of Montessori and discuss adaptations of these theories in light of current research and best practices. They will also be able to participate in experiential exercises in community building, mindfulness, and attachment theory. This course includes Fall and Winter Intensives.

Why this course? It is important for all teachers to understand and be able to articulate the reasons they are teaching in a less traditional, more effective way, and how that connects to the development of the adolescent.


This course is designed to bring Maria Montessori’s “Erdkinder” Essay to life. Throughout this experience adult learners form a strong community through seminars on stewardship and sustainability, shared work projects and activities that illustrate the cycle of life and death. A packing list will be provided upon registration. This is a physically challenging course; however, the ability and tolerance of each participant is respected.

Why this course? The web of life and the concept of interdependence permeate all of Montessori’s work. Every Montessori adolescent program has a land component, and this course gives adult learners a structure to help them establish “Erdkinder” projects in their own schools. It also helps teachers learn how to engage students in caring for themselves, the school, and all living things.

Montessori Secondary Curriculum Development

This course will provide adult learners with an overview of Montessori secondary classroom structure and organization, the structure for the development of a lively curriculum for the adolescent tailored to each individual school’s needs, and a model of the philosophy in action. In this course, the adult learner will understand the basics in:

  • creating a Montessori classroom environment
  • developing student leadership and community
  • developing integrated curricula with impressionistic lessons, Montessori materials, and projects
  • uniting academic content within a theme that is appropriate to development of the adolescent
  • implementing Socratic dialogue in all content areas
  • designing meaningful kick-off and culminating experiences
  • guiding student-led conferences
  • making self-assessment opportunities for students
  • facilitating and debriefing group initiatives
  • managing large blocks of instructional time, designing a daily schedule
  • teaming with colleagues

This course also contains a Paideia Seminar/Socratic Dialogue component. The Paideia philosophy describes Socratic dialogue/seminar as a mode of teaching that is essential for helping students develop true critical thinking abilities. By practicing the seminar process in this course as well as all other CMStep courses, adult learners will learn to select appropriate pieces to use in seminar discussions, to organize and orchestrate seminars for success, to scaffold questions to engage the students, and to routinely utilize the seminar approach to understand “great works” of literature, art, music, historical documents, and other writings in all subject areas. Critical and creative thinking will be emphasized.

Why this course? Because finding ways to teach in a more dynamic and integrated way requires a curriculum that reflects those qualities. Adult learners in this course will develop their first Montessori plan of study on which future studies will be based. This course provides a foundation that integrates Montessori philosophy, academic standards, and thematic study.

Pedagogy of Place

Pedagogy of Place gives adult learners a chance to experience a real field study. During this class, adult learners will also learn to design their own experiential courses that integrate field studies with Socratic dialogue and service projects.

Why this course? We care about the things we understand. In well-designed field studies, adolescents take topics learned in the classroom and apply them in the real world. This approach engages and inspires students in ways that book-learning can’t.

Montessori Structure & Organization

In Structure & Organization adult learners spend each day of the week focused on one key aspect of the structure and organization of a Montessori secondary classroom. Adult learners develop materials that they will use in their classrooms in the next school year through a student centered class structure that emphasizes research, sharing, and Socratic dialogue. This course is an extension of Curriculum Development.

Why this course? Check Curriculum Development.

Year-long Project

This course will focus on independent study in the form of a research project that will be completed during the practicum year.

Why this course? Teachers need to demonstrate their own excitement and curiosity about learning, delve into their own questions about classroom practice, and be prepared to help students learn to do research as an aid to engaging the learning process.

Practicum Experience

Courses from Summer 1 are prerequisites. Adult learners in the practicum year receive two site visits, one video consultation, supervision, and coaching. They will also attend the fall and winter intensives.